MAINE potato farmers are feeling optimistic ahead of harvest time.
They anticipate a solid crop and stronger demand thanks to reopening restaurants. A decline in acreage was reversed with an extra 8,000 acres planted this summer, which is another positive sign according to a report in My Journal Courier.
Potatoes are big business in Maine with direct sales in the neighborhood of $300 million supporting about 2,400 jobs.
Farmers are hoping that a better yield will coincide with greater demand as more restaurants and cafeterias open. About 65% of Maine’s potatoes are processed into french fries, chips or some other product.
When the pandemic hit, the demand for processed potatoes dropped but it's rebounding. In fact, demand was great enough to drive a 16% increase in acreage devoted to potatoes, Flannery said.
All told, 58,000 acres were planted with potatoes this summer, the vast majority in Aroostook County.